Korean War veterans, stand tall in pride
Originally published on July 19
It is now the 61st anniversary, July 27, 1953, of the signing of the Korea War armistice, which gained nothing for those who began it, North Korea, with the consent of the Chinese and the Soviet Union.
The most wrenching reminiscence, however, were of those who didn't survive brutal captivity or the forced marches; the unspeakable atrocities committed against those Americans dying in pain in the black hole torture pits along the Yalu River.
Never miss a local story.
And while no one was looking and few were listening, almost 3 million people perished in the war's unspeakable fury during that three-year violent nightmare.
Over 220,000 Republic of Korea personnel were killed; 700,000 were wounded. In excess of 2 million innocent North and South Korean civilians, cold, bloody casualties, died, many fleeing North Korea.
Most important of all, over 36,000 young Americans died; over 103,000 suffered horrible wounds of the conflict.
Moreover, there are 7,861 U.S. military still listed as missing or unaccounted for. To this date, the People's Republic of China has never been held accountable for those missing Americans.
Placing the Korea War into its proper perspective for me now comes easier with each passing year. For the average veteran who fought there, the bitter memories, mine included, still say it wasn't worth it.
Sadly, many veterans in Manatee County to this day remain cynical and apathetic regarding their monumental and unrecognized sacrifices.
I remind those heroes, with historical perspective, we stayed the course and provided a shield behind which the South Korean people have created what is virtually an economic miracle.
Again, to my cynical Korea War comrades, the message is clear. Stand tall in pride; you won big in your call to defend a country you never knew and a people you had never met.
George Staudt, Kirby Stewart American Legion Post 24
While editors pick the Letter of the Week, readers select the Letter of the Month by voting online at www.bradenton.com/letter-of-the-month at the beginning of each new month. Nominations are posted there for review.